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European financial tax to be levied as of 2016

European Union finance ministers announced a planned tax on transactions will come into effect in 10 member countries in January 2016. But some nations remain opposed to the levy.

Meeting in Brussels, EU finance ministers said Tuesday a controversial tax on financial transactions would be levied in an initial group of 10 countries as of 2016. Some nations hope the project could help win over voters ahead of European elections in late May.

"We have agreed to put our money where our mouth is," Austrian Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger told reporters. "On January 1, 2016, the first part of the tax initiative should come into effect."

The minister said he expected the levy to generate "considerable revenues." But the tax has been facing criticism from a number of non-participating EU nations, and from some business associations which fear the levy may have a negative impact on business investment.

Investments in jeopardy?

The UK, home to Europe's largest financial center in the City of London, has been a staunch opponent of the tax. Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg also spoke out against the project Tuesday.

Some EU countries to introduce transaction tax

"We think the financial transaction tax is a very inefficient and costly tax," he said in a statement. "It has a detrimental effect on the financing of investment in Europe [with market players in other world regions not subjected to such a levy]."

The German Finance Ministry indicated the tax would be introduced in 10 countries, starting with a narrow range of transactions, including buying and selling of stocks and some derivatives. Negotiations about exactly which financial products will be included in the first phase of the project are to be completed by the end of this year, the ministers said in Brussels.

hg/nz (dpa, AFP)

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